These were the scenes that greeted me after a pleasant sleep (although I must admit, the plastic pebble pillows were a little uncomfortable) before we had breakfast and more conversations with the other guests.
After breakfast our hostess walked us to the bus stop and when we realized that the buses were no longer on their summer schedules, and we would have to wait for an hour before one arrived, she hurried us into her car and drove us the 10 kilometers or more to the train station. I will include a link to the Inn's website when I find it, for anyone thinking of staying there.
This is our hostess with Ange outside the train station where she dropped us. As we were casually taking pictures in the parking lot, the train had already pulled in and was loading passengers. The station was empty by the time we entered, except for an elderly woman bent over a mop and washing the floor. When she saw us she left the mop and motioned us toward the ticket counter. The clerk sold us our tickets and the old woman ushered us with rapid hand gestures toward the stairs to the platform. It was at that point that we realized the train was ready to pull out, that we only had seconds to get aboard and the cleaning woman was hurrying us along, smiling and bowing the whole time. The trains are very efficient in Japan and don't generally wait, but the conductor had his head stuck out the window of the last car. He seemed to be watching for us and waved his hand to signal the "All clear" as we climbed aboard. It was a close call and we wouldn't have made it without help.
Our next destination was Hiroshima where we spent two night. People who travel a lot must get used to the coincidences that go with it. We had a pleasant conversation on the train with a British couple who were on a similar schedule (they had hired a tour company and we had the help of the fabulous Sydney to plan our trip. Thanks again Sydney!) and we ran into them in Hiroshima about three times before our trails finally parted.
Hiroshima probably touches everyone differently. I did not expect as emotional a response as I ended up having. It was on our arrival and my thoughts had been circling closer and closer to the events that led up to and followed the dropping of the bombs on Japan that ended the second World War. I choked up as soon as I stepped off the train. It was sudden, intense and didn't last long but colored the rest of my stay. We checked into our hotel and went for a long walk through the city.
It ended with a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The burned out building above was directly below the bomb blast on that terrible day. That is why it was not completely destroyed.
We had a quiet evening walking around the streets of Hiroshima and having a wonderful Vietnamese meal at Mis Hoa's. After dinner, a hot bath and then sleep. The next day would be another special one. We were going to visit Miyajima Torii.